Tucked away in corner of Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza, lies a sexy, magnetic, and posh restaurant named AnQi. The restaurant boasts a unique twist on California Vietnamese Cuisine, with a fascinating culinary philosophy based on chef “Mama” Helene An’s principle of “Yin and Yang” cooking. This approach follows the foundations of Eastern medicine, composed of only the finest ingredients that are rich in antioxidants and health and used only when they’re in season and at their freshest.
AnQi has that trendy, upscale Vegas vibe written all over it . You completely forget that you’re in a mall, and in fact, that you’re even in Bloomingdales! With lots of red luxurious pillows, warm wood tones and Asian inspired furniture, sophistication is at the top of its game here. There is a very restful and peaceful ambiance inside this restaurant.
The bar area has a counter-to-ceiling display of frosted glass and premier bottles of top-shelf liquor. It is completely lit up for a stunning view and a perfect place to enjoy a cocktail with a date. Anqi has something called a Red Hour (Happy Hour) from 4:00PM – 7:00PM Monday – Friday.
Often times Anqi will host fashion shows where they will assemble a glass catwalk.
Last week was my very first time dining at AnQi. I had such a fantastic experience.and learned quite a bit about the An family. One interesting element about the restaurant is “The Secret Kitchen”. This kitchen is the prodigy of Master Chef Helene An’s culinary legacy and the An Family’s success story. It refers to a completely concealed kitchen within the main kitchen, off-limits to all employees except the An Family and chefs with over 10 years of employment with the family.
The presentation of the food is some of the best I have ever seen. Everything served to me looked so pretty and pleasing.
I started off with an appetizer called Tombo Tuna Crispy Wonton. These delectable little tacos come served with yuzu-kosho, haas avocado, macadamia nut, white truffle, and black tobiko caviar. Now, If there is anything that I love more than my kids and husband, its caviar. The flavor of caviar is so distinct and it paired perfectly with the tuna in this dish.
Next we tried Kalbi Hangar Steak Lettuce Wraps and a crispy potato cake topped with salmon. What I like about Anqi is most of the dishes are small plates so you can try a variety of different items without getting too full. I had spotted Calamari on the menu so I was eager to try that as well.
This was by far my favorite menu item. The calamari was lightly coated with a tempura coating and the peppers and scallions created a really nice zing to each bite. Each bite I tasted was even better than the last one. Dip it in the pesto Aioli sauce for even more flavor.
The Filet Mignon pot stickers are a great appetizer to share. They are served with a sesame soy dressing and are filled with minced meat. These little guys are tiny and tasty.
A great item to pair with the pot stickers are the Crispy Lobster Dumplings. These deep-fried delicious pockets come with golden couscous and sweet chili honey. I would have eaten four more of these if I had the room.
One of the most popular items Anqi is known for is their Garlic Noodles! You can order it with lobster, prawns, or chicken. The portion is just the right size and once you take a bite of it you will be blown away! It has a great mixture of garlicky goodness.
If you would like something a bit on the lighter side try the soy glazed salmon salad. The salmon will melt right in your mouth. It comes with napa cabbage, sweet pepper, mango-tiato dressing and crispy won ton noodles on top.
Are you drooling yet? Well, wipe your mouth because I saved the best for last. Dessert at AnQi is an entire experience within itself. Order the table side ice cream for an epic sight to see. Your server will make this right in front of you where they will mix liquid nitrogen right into the vanilla where it will freeze instantly. You will see a smoke show like you have never seen. Have a look at my video so you can see what it will look like.
The ice cream which is served over bread pudding tasted so fresh and had a really wonderful consistency.
Tuesday Nights at AnQi
Every Tuesday night Mama prepares her famous roasted crab in her secret kitchen from 5:30pm-close.. You definitely don’t want to miss this. So bring some co-workers or meet a friend after work for a delicious meal you won’t forget.
This was probably the best culinary experience I have had in all of my years as a food blogger and I cannot wait to bring my husband back here for a date night.